Sunday, September 30, 2007

living our dreams

I heard back from mutation craft fair, and I'm in! My name is on the list of vendors--how exciting! So far, when I've told a few people about it, I've gotten "Do you have enough stuff to sell?"/"You've only made 3 bags?!"/"Don' t you need inventory?" So, needless to say, I should probably be sewing right now.

Creative time is now exclusively on the weekend since I have nothing left these days when I get home from work. Now I see why so it's so easy to spend the evening in front of the TV--sometimes I don't even have enough energy to read when I get home. One night, we pulled out our wooden sudoku board for a quiet evening. It's a great gift idea for someone who likes sudoku (ours is from E's parents) because several people can work on a puzzle together.

We're struggling with a decision that made me just want to nap today--no sewing done. E knows that I live for following dreams, so when he asks for support in following one of his, it's hard to say no. But, oh how I want to! Then I remember how he's supported everyone of mine. Tattoos I can handle, but a motorcycle?

I'd better get back to that inventory!

Oh, and my grandmother liked her 'hot pad'--I had to call her back and tell her it was for her glasses :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

crossword case

A glasses case for my Meemaw's birthday. She loves crosswords.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

book report

*photo from alternacrafts
I've been enjoying lots of non-fiction from the library lately. Anytime I read or hear about a good book, I go to my library's website and request a hold. When the title arrives at the branch near me, they call. And they've been calling a lot!
I was scrolling through the craftsanity podcast archives and came across an interview with Jessica Vitkus, the author of AlternaCrafts. This book is divided up into clothing, home, and gift projects, all of which seem to be pretty quick endeavors. Even though it came from the library's teen section, it has lots of ideas, like 'pin-tastic cards' and 'mock smock,' that I might try.
*photos from simple sewing with a french twist
After I saw that Beth had found Simple Sewing with a French Twist at her library, I checked and was pleasantly surprised that mine had a copy, too (they seem to be a bit slow getting craft titles). I've been looking at this one before bed, and there is a lot to look at--tons of cute projects, with diagrams for everything! So far, some of my favorites are the Versailles Velvet Ottoman and the Bohemian Flip Flops. More than 250 pages!
*photo from omiyage
On a quick browse at the library, I picked up Omiyage: Handmade Gifts from Fabric in the Japanese Tradition. I love looking at these very cute [but extremely time consuming+and detail oriented] projects. The photos are nice and bright.

On the same trip, I found Sewing with Nancy 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew for Your Home. This book looks like it was published way before 2002, and I laughed when I realized each sewing project was divided into steps that take 10, 20 or 30 minutes, not that they could be finished in that amount of time. Who was I kidding--there's a quilt on the cover--that's a bunch of 30 minute steps! Anyhow, it's pretty traditional, but there's one project I've got my eye on: the On the Go Machine Mat. I'm always sliding my sewing machine around on the table, and I like the little pockets that hang down from this mat--a great place to stash little threads instead of reaching for the trash can while sewing.

I found so many recipes I want to try in Quick Fix Vegetarian, like 'potato "dosadillas"' and 'cream of pumpkin soup topped with curried pecans.' My only complaint is that there are no color photos--one of my requirements for buying a cookbook.

And in addition to Simple Sewing on my nightstand, I've been falling asleep to Thoreau. Somehow I made it through school without reading anything he wrote. And I got a few calls from the library at the end of the week--I think they've got some fiction waiting for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

creating stock(ings)

Thanks for all the great feedback on my things to sell and the fall recipes! I'm really wishing I had grown my own winter squash...there's always next year, I guess.
These are more photos taken for the craft fair. (No, I didn't get so excited about the change of seasons that I fast-forwarded all the way to December!) I pulled these out of the box of Christmas decorations, where they have been since last January. It's funny how putting away something handmade and pulling it out much later can give you a whole new perspective. I was actually surprised by how well-made they are, considering I've done a lot more sewing (and learning) since I made them (and I'm still making lots of mistakes!). In reality, I'm probably just not being as critical because I've forgotten about any imperfections I was aware of when I first made them. But it's kind of nice to look at them with new eyes, the way you'd look at a craft made by someone other than yourself. I'm looking forward to making more of these.

Now I definitely need to do something more with brown+green.

I'm gonna try to catch Tim Gunn's Guide to Style tonight. (I might have to DVR it if I crash early like the rest of this week). I wonder if it's any good. I'm just so ready for Project Runway Season 4 to start!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

pillow, revised (and food)

This pillow really wasn’t finished when I photographed it the other day, but I needed to get a shot to send with my craft fair application. I un-did the quick hand sewing job, and added the quilting, binding, and envelope closure.And I finished 3 'grocery bags', to sell.

I’ve taken Jenn’s lead and finally updated my links list. I messed around with the html and made a few other fun changes to the blog as well.

Now, on to what’s really a food post. Need a desk drawer snack? I’ve got the best trail mix in mine right now. It has almonds, pecans, cashews (my favorite), sunflower seeds, tropical dried fruit mix, golden raisins, and chocolate chips. The great thing about trail mix is that you can mix in whatever you like. Other tasty additions: m&ms, craisins, dried apricots, banana chips. And I just discovered dried figs! Any other ideas?

We enjoyed the last of the garden over the weekend, eating one of 2 watermelons that grew. There may still be sweet potatoes, but I’m not holding my breath. That’s OK, though because when my grandmother visited recently, she brought, as always, bags and boxes of fresh, family grown food: tomatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, pecans. Using a giant butternut squash from my aunt’s flower bed (did you know you could grow them in between shrubs? My sister-in-law just discovered a pumpkin growing in her yard!), I made what must be my favorite meal: roasted squash and peppers + baked goat cheese over wheat pasta. Unfortunately, it got eaten up before it could pose for any pictures. Next up, butternut squash soup. I love pureed soups in the winter. This cheddar soup with celery, carrots, and apples becomes a staple in our kitchen during cool weather.

Another post about cooler weather. Can you tell I'm ready for fall?

Monday, September 17, 2007

cold weather wear

To me, this Florida summer was especially harsh. After a trip to Chicago this summer, and Boston last, I think I've realized how much milder it is elsewhere. So maybe this is the reason I'm so ready for cooler weather. And if it would look something like Gabrielle’s gorgeous wedding photos, I’d go for MUCH cooler weather! I want to open the windows and enjoy walking the dog. I want to wear jumpers and tights, and sew a corduroy bag.

I love this jumper I bought (but it doesn't fit) at Target yesterday, planning to trace it or find a similar pattern. I was in luck. On craftstew, I found out about a free pattern offer on the vogue website--just pay $3 for shipping. I found one similar to the Target jumper and ordered it. I figure I'll just make it shorter. Then, on a stop in at Joann, I saw jumper that had been sewn up as one of their samples, and it was made with an interesting tweed--mostly tan with flecks of other colors-- and brown satin ribbon trim. I think I need it.

Since my dress-making never came to be during August (although I did do quite a bit of making), I hope to see this plan through to completion. In high school, my best friend made me this jumper (top photo) in her sewing class. I loved it so much, but I can still remember how mad she was when she saw the dog patch I had added. I thought it was just what the dress needed. Wooly jumper, here I come!

And even though I already have these shoes in brown patchwork, I've got my eye on the herringbone ones. They are perfect for a long day of standing in front of a class!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

on selling

Someone recently said that when you make things, it's just a matter of time before people start asking if you sell those things. I've always been excited by the prospect of making money from the things I enjoy creating. It was so cool when a teacher in my high school asked to buy one of my paintings. (I ended up just giving it to her, though.) And in college, I had this idea that I could make and sell paper lanterns. But I don't think I ever finished making one.

When you make things, you eventually run out of things to make for yourself, so you hope that others will appreciate the things you make and give them. Most times they do; sometimes it's a little disappointing. But when you sell something, you know that the person buying it appreciates your time and creativity and will enjoy whatever it is.

Of course I've heard from everyone that if you turn what you love into a business, you lose the enjoyment. So, armed with this warning, I've decided to take it one step at a time. A really cool sounding craft fair is being held in November, not too far from Jacksonville, and I've applied! We'll see how it goes.
I've been working for a little while on creating some 'inventory,' but it's a slow process. I want everything to be so perfect, so I get frustrated and I'm only able to handle small spurts of making. These are a couple of ideas I'm considering putting into production: patchwork pillow covers and tote bags with a patchwork detail. The pillows are just fun, but I really believe in the tote bags. I'm modeling them after the giant canvas ones I use for my own shopping. They're super durable, yet lightweight, and stand up on their own. Maybe they can be my little way of affecting change in my little world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

oh, gainesville.

*image from wikipedia

Last night we took a trip down memory lane. We drove to Gainesville--the University of FL-- to see a show, but what I enjoyed so much more than the music was visiting my old college town. Of course we went to our favorite Asian food place, which lived up to our expectations--slooow service, but amazing [and amazingly cheap] food. We drove by my old apartment, and I noticed the trees I never paid much attention to. We walked through campus and drove through downtown. It all reminded me of what a special place Gainesville is. Amisha is really lucky to call it home. (She also has some great photos.)

I never wanted to go to UF, but after a rough freshman year elsewhere, I found friends who welcomed me as a roommate. I didn't get lost in the shuffle of the giant university like I thought I would, but I found others with common interests. I discovered a fulfilling career and a major among the dozens the school offers.

And the cool thing was, I didn't feel so old when we were there last night. I guess Dave Matthews' following has grown up, just like us.

I can't wait to get back to Gainesville in a few weeks for my brother's wedding. It's going to be beautiful. Just look at the location.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

collar for kobe

I can see why Amy Karol's collars are being modeled by inflatable dogs in Bend the Rules Sewing. My live model was less than cooperative. He either wouldn't look at me or wanted to lick the camera.
I used his old collar to figure out how to thread the strip through the hardware, available at Joann. If I make another one, I'll probably add some interfacing to make it less floppy. It was really quick and easy to make.
There are so many over-the-top accessories and things that make me laugh when I see them on small dogs, but I won't buy clothes for this guy. A patchwork collar, though, seems acceptable. But that's my limit. (He does have a red bow tie, which makes me smile every time I put it on him on Christmas day! He's a good sport.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

favorite fabrics and fall

Wow. I can't believe I'm blogging. I've missed this part of my life the past few days. After a wonderfully full weekend of time with visiting family (and soon-to-be family--see below), I went in to work Tuesday to find out my new full-time position had been finalized, and that I should start working full-time. Tuesday. After full days this week, I've been enjoying the not so hot and less humid evenings outside with the pup. It feels almost like fall!
I do, however, have a few works in progress that I hope to get back to this weekend. I've made a prototype for the boutonnières for my brother's autumn-themed wedding in October. His fiance was down for her bridal shower, and she seemed happy with it. We saw the idea in Martha Stewart Weddings last fall. I'll add the flowers just before the wedding. She's come up with a lot of other fall touches that I can't wait to see.
And I'm working on an inspiration board to go over my sewing table. I left the other board I made in the guest bedroom because it matched the rest of the room so well. For this board, I'm using some of my favorite-right-now fabrics. Well, I've liked the green one (from Joann) for some time, but I love these two new ones--one is Heather Bailey, bought on sale from reprodepot, and the other was a gift from another Jacksonville blogger--thanks Tiffany!

Well, I have high hopes for fall, as do many other bloggers it seems. I'm getting organized and making plans. Our students return next week, so I'm feeling the back to school excitement, too.